Saturday, August 30, 2008

We are Employed!!

Yes it's true. And so its not actually me that's employed... but my husband has just finished his first week of work. I didn't say anything sooner because I didn't want to jinx it!

Last week things were looking pretty bleak for us. Here we are with $44.44 (yes that # is exact) in our bank account and no job offer in sight. Although it was quickly becoming a dire situation, we knew that things could get a lot worse - we were not yet at rock bottom, but it was sure to come.

I joined in the job search. We were both applying for every job under the sun. And let me just say that I was not looking forward to calling up the only references I have (all academic) to see if they would be a reference for me for a bank teller job... how humiliating that would have been. It's just amazing how you can come out with a graduate degree and still be compelled to apply for jobs that require no degree.

My husband had applied for this particular job back at the beginning of July, even before we left Iowa. When he called to make sure they had gotten his app materials they said they would have to call back as they were "overwhelmed" with applicants. It didn't look good. And by the time we made the move back up here we figured that he wasn't going to get called for an interview as it had already been almost a month. But then 2 days after our move he got the call for an interview. The interview wasn't for another 2 weeks! So more anxious waiting...

A week after his interview we hadn't heard anything and of course began to assume the worst. And we were getting quite desperate for employment of any kind. And I was ready to have at least one of us out of the house for a few hours a day after spending about 30 entire days together ;) He got the call last Thursday! And started on Monday. We were thinking he didn't get it because when he interviewed they said they were looking to hire someone asap as the school semester will be starting next week.

Needless to say we are beside ourselves with glee :) Neither of us had to take a janitor job :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Not Your Mama's Powdered Milk!

Seriously, have you guys tried powdered milk lately?

When I was 5 years old my mom went back to work and us kids went to daycare. We hated daycare. For one reason only: they used powdered milk AND they MADE you drink it! Yes, we had to sit at those long tables until we had gulped down our entire *large* glass of milk. My worst experience there was one day, after having drank half the glass, I accidentally spilled my milk. The nice ladies at the daycare refilled my glass to the top and made me sit there until I had finished the whole glass. I cried and cried. The powdered milk was awful!!! It didn't taste like real milk in the slightest.

Upon our move back to Wisconsin (with no job in hand) we did a staple food shop hoping to last until we got food stamps (the soonest appointment was 3 weeks later!). Both my husband and myself grew up pretty poor, him a little bit poorer than I. His mom would go grocery shopping once a month and buy a few gallons of milk and then a bunch of powdered and canned milk to get through the rest of the month. So we did similar. Bought a few gallons of milk and then some powdered and canned milk more for cooking or an emergency... I was very hesitant about it given my past experiences with powdered milk. But my husband said that his mother would mix the powdered milk with the canned milk and it wasn't so bad.

Anyway, my little D has been going through the milk like crazy. We actually got in for a WIC appointment within a day. Through WIC we were able to get like 6 gallons of milk for the month. Which D has already gone through - plus 3 more. OK, B is also drinking some of the milk, but not much. So last night we were out of milk and I went to make mashed potatoes... I had to turn to the powdered milk. I had intended to run to the store after dinner, but by that time I was tired and here I had a quart of powdered milk that D could drink and a can of formula that B could use... so I talked my lazy butt out of going to the store.

I filled D's bottle halfway (so as not to waste too much) with the powdered milk mixture and handed it to him, fully expecting him to return crying within a few sips. He drank the whole thing down and asked for more. I was absolutely shocked. I figured he must not mind the awful taste.

Later, when all the kids were in bed and it was my time to sit down, relax and enjoy my nightly ritual of Oreos dunked in milk... damn!! Just the powdered milk. I figured it may be a little better than dunking them in water - because we all know that Oreos must be dunked and soggy to be enjoyed to the fullest. So, begrudgingly, I filled my mug halfway with the powdered milk mixture. Didn't notice any funky taste while dunking, so decided to take a sip after I had eaten my Oreos. It actually tasted like real milk! It didn't taste funky at all! I couldn't tell the difference between this glass of powdered milk and real, regular milk from a gallon!! I drank the rest of the mug of milk down and still tasted no difference. Can you believe it?!?! Can you? Because I just can't get over it! And the cost? Me and my husband did the math last night (ok, I let him do all the math and I just watched) $2.54 a gallon for the generic!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Who Loves You Baby

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

You know you're back in the Northwoods when...

Two weeks after moving back here to the Northwoods we had something tear into our garbage (which we intelligently were keeping just outside the back door) and drag a bag out behind the garage. After checking everything out my husband said that it was most likely a bear. I only halfway believed him, and hadn't been too bothered by it.

note: his area of expertise happens to be natural resources and he knows a lot about the wildlife around here and he knows his animal tracks...

Every night before we go to bed he's been checking out the woods behind our house and across the street. I've been watching him and been slightly amused. I wasn't too worried.

Last night and the night before all the dogs in the neighborhood were barking. And our big dog was on the (enclosed and within the fence) porch whining (she's a big chicken). And I started thinking that he was probably right about the bear. There has definitely been something lurking around the neighborhood at night. To be clear - it's not much of a traditional city neighborhood. There is about 5 or 6 houses around us, but there is much more space between them than in a city. Three of the houses are behind the wooded area behind our house - we can't even see the houses. But still I only half believed that there's been a bear around here.

In the little over 2 years we'd lived up here (before the whole moving to Iowa fiasco) I had only seen a bear 3 or 4 times. All of my sightings were at least 15 miles from our house.

That was until tonight.

We were on our way home - about 4 blocks from the house - when a little black bear cub came shooting across the highway. You know his mama wasn't far behind. We didn't see her though.

So now I have to admit to my husband and myself that it was most likely a bear in our garbage. And a bear that's been lurking around here at night. I won't be going anywhere after dark! :)
Not a chance.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jack-Black-itis or Diagnosis: Too Much Jack Black

Friday evening our daughter M was having a pain in her left side, especially when breathing... we were concerned that it could have been her appendix or pneumonia, so we just took her right in. Of course it took over an hour to be seen... Small town ER's really suck. This one has 3 adjoining curtained "rooms" that have barely enough room for a patient and doctor. Anyway, they ran a bunch of tests that took forever... her lungs sounded fine, her urine test came back with no infections, she was getting plenty of oxygen and her x-rays came back clear. The verdict was that she had pulled a muscle in her side.

She said she couldn't think of anything she did to have pulled a muscle. The only thing we could think of was that we'd all watched the Jack Black movie "Be Kind Rewind" the night before and were all laughing our butts off!! M actually watched it twice. So we figure she pulled a muscle laughing. We told her she was having a little case of Jack-Black-itus.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Birthday Cake

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Baby B Turns 1 Today!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer Fun

Who doesn't love watermelon in the Summer?

This photo is for the "Summer Fun Photo Contest" hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom

Wordless Wednesday: Baby in the Basket

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh Those Fabulous Toys!

I have two birthdays coming up here, so I've got toys on my mind. Baby B will be 1 in a few days!! A year flies by so fast! And D will be 3 the first week of Sept!

My mom called the other day to say she sent out B's b-day package, and I conned her into telling me what everyone got her. I really wanted to get her that little people doll house (she really had a blast playing with it at my sister's house). I was going to start looking on eBay to see if I could find one. But grandma got it for her! I can't wait :) Poor B doesn't really have too many toys that are hers. I have bought her a thing or two here and there, but D has so many toys that she's pretty content playing with his. And she is playing with his outgrown toys, so there's really not much point in buying her a lot of toys. Of course there are things that they fight over - such as the treasured little people school bus. But the coolest thing is that my mom and sister found a *pink* little people school bus! They knew that D had one, and almost didn't get the pink one for B, but then decided to go ahead and get it. I'm so glad they did because I bust up fights over that school bus all day!

A few months ago we were visiting my sister A and she had these really cool nesting fabric boxes that were decorated as presents. B loved them, so I went to Target to try to find something similar for baby B. I didn't find anything, but I noticed they had this whole aisle of "Word World" toys! D loves "Word World" so I was really wanting to get him one of the toys (I must admit that it is one of my favorites on PBS). They had some really great things, like puzzles, and the animals (that are spelled out in letters) that come apart. But a very good percentage of the toys (all of them that would have appealed to D) have those little magnets in them! I can't believe that companies are still using them!! Those little magnets are the reason that a lot of toys have been recalled. Granted in the animal letter toys they were sewn into the fabric, but still there's a chance that a child could get them out.

When B was a few months old we bought these tag along chime toys from Infantino. After we got them home we realized that they had magnets in the straps to keep them attached to the car seat or stroller. We strapped one to her bouncer while we cut the magnets out of the other one and slapped some velcro on it. Before we got to the second one she had gotten it off her bouncer and was chewing on the strap right where the magnet was! I was really mad that these were still on the shelves. I can guess that it wouldn't have taken too long to chew through the seams or the fabric and get that magnet out.

A few months later I stumbled upon an article online that talked about how some stores (especially Wal-Mart) have a habit of leaving recalled toys on their shelves. I guess it's perfectly legal in some states (Parents Magazine had a list of these states in their Feb or Mar issue, but of course I can't find it online!). I wish I could find that article. I originally found it on the League of Maternal Justice site, but I've been hunting around for it there and haven't been able to find it! Go figure. Anyway... just because a toy (or bib or bottle) has been recalled doesn't mean you can't buy it on the shelves of your local store or on eBay... I just know that I will never buy toys with magnets that could even remotely potentially come out.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thinking About Going Out to Dinner with a Colicky Baby?

It's not really the best idea. When my son D was 5 months old, we went to a retirement party for one of my husband's professors at a local Olive Garden.

It was the first time we went out to eat after D was born. We brought the gas medicine, and I think we even gave him some just before going into the restaurant. We brought him some rice cereal and toys to keep him entertained. He did great until just before the food arrived. He started getting a little fussy, then a little fussier. I took him into the restroom and he began a full blown screaming fit. I was horribly embarrassed. If you've had a baby with colic, you know that there is just not much you can do to get the baby to calm down. And it's so awful when it happens in public because everyone looks at you like you're a horrible mother. I tried everything, I even stood there in one of the stalls and tried to nurse him. Nothing worked, he just kept screaming louder and louder. I had to walk all the way through the restaurant, with him screaming the whole way (and everyone craning their necks to see what was going on), to tell my husband I was going out to the car.

It was an awful experience. We didn't go out to eat again for months. Not until D was about 10 mos old and over the colic. We usually don't go out to eat very often, but when we do we just make sure to take plenty to keep the two little ones occupied (crayons and paper seem to work well with D [who is almost 3 yrs old now], and crackers or snacks for baby B). And if it starts to get a little crazy, we just get our food to go!

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by Burger King Corp.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Blog the Recession

Motherhood Uncensored is hosting this blog event for the month of August. It's really quite simple, just go visiting blogs through your feedreader or blogroll. It's all about helping out your fellow bloggers with pageviews. Click the button for details and to join Blog the Recession. She's giving away some really nifty prizes too!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

On our move back, and just before arriving home we saw this mysterious Muskie cloud...Is it a sign from the Muskie Gods? You be the judge ;)

BTW: we are 15 miles away from the capture spot of the world's largest Muskie!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What is D doing?

My little boy D went from saying very little to non-stop chatter. I've heard that happens a lot with boys. I posted a few weeks ago about his repeating absolutely everything... and basically telling me what he wanted me to say to him ("D eat your taters," "D sit down"). But last night I was keeping myself awake thinking about it... not because it was bothering me - I was just having trouble getting to sleep and thinking about odd things. You know how those nights are.

A few weeks ago we were having lunch with my mother and D was going on:
"Is D eating bananas?"
"Are you drinking apple juice D?"
and my mom thought it was pretty cute. I said that it comes in really handy when he's drawing pictures.
"Did you draw a monkey D?"
"Are you drawing a plane D?"
I don't have to worry about guessing what he's drawing. My mom mentioned that my brother's little girl (who is 2 mos younger than D) also refers to herself in the third person. I really hadn't thought of what he was doing in that way - I just assumed he was telling me what he wanted me to say to him, so I would just repeat him.

Last night I realized that at least part of the time he's just doing a run-down of what he's doing. "Is D dancing?"
"Is D shakin his booty?"
"Is D jumping on the comfy couch?"
And he probably talks about himself in the third person like that because I do that all day to him.
"Is mommy getting your lunch D?"
"Mom is cutting your nuggets and they have to cool,"
"Mom is going to go find your shoes," etc...
It seems only natural that he would pattern his speaking after those around him. Now I'm wondering if I should stop referring to myself in the third person and start using and emphasizing I phrases.

I do know a few things about linguistics and language development, so I know that some things are developmental issues and work themselves out as children develop their language skills. I assumed that this was just a developmental phase (like having issues with plurals). But I really don't remember reading anything specifically about children referring to themselves in the third person. I just hope I didn't make a big boo-boo ;) Anyone else have a toddler who refers to themselves in the third person like that?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Quick, Easy and healthy yummy fruit salad!

We've made this fruit salad a couple of times lately - over the weekend for our coming home cookout, and made it again tonight because it's so gosh darn good and easy (and because everyone loved it so much there were no leftovers). So I thought I would share it with everyone!

  • 1 can of mandarin oranges (drained)
  • 1 can of chunk pineapple (drained)
  • 2 bananas (sliced)
  • 1 cp of chopped walnuts
  • 1 bunch of grapes (sliced in half)
  • 2 containers of vanilla yogurt (I used light yogurt)

You just cut up the bananas and grapes, and mix it all up! It's so super easy, and you could really put just about any fruit in it (I'm thinking about trying strawberries and blueberries next time). It tastes so sweet that it's hard to believe there isn't anything bad for you in it. We were craving Waldorf salad, which is similar but I think it just has grapes, apples and walnuts in it. All the recipes we found for that were a little involved and used mayonaise and sugar... not quite as healthy as it would appear.

In other news, baby B had her shots today :( Boy do I hate those Dr's appointments. It just never gets any better. Of course you'd never know she had her shots today because she's been just as lively as ever and addicted to the baby swing! She just gets sooo mad when it's time to get out of the swing. I have to pry her little fingers off the ropes.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Back in the Northwoods!

And it feels sooo good! Our house was just as we'd left it. We've got quite a bit unpacked and situated, and it feels like home. Really, it felt like home before we even started unpacking. Today I found myself forgetting that we'd ever moved away from here.

The kids and dogs are in heaven with the fenced-in yard! It's been hard to get them to come back inside. D has been just running around like crazy and sliding down the slide. B loves the baby swing and gets so mad when it's time to come out. We had a cookout this weekend and did some relaxing out in the yard. The weather has been awesome! It was so miserably hot and humid in Iowa. It's been hot here, about mid-80s, but very low humidity, which makes a big difference! And it actually cools off at night here. Last night it got down to around 58. That makes it so much better for sleeping. We may not even have to put the air conditioner in the window.

It's amazing what coming back home has done for my children - they have made the adjustment with very little disruption. And it has done a lot for my state of mind. Ahhhh. :)

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